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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 12, 2003

Patience will help in recovery process

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By Jonathan Lyau
Special to The Advertiser

Jonathan Lyau says the recovery period starts as soon as you finish and lasts for a few weeks.

Advertiser library photo • Dec. 10, 2000

Sunday's Honolulu Marathon will mark the culmination of months of preparation. Countless hours have been sacrificed in training toward this goal. You have gained tremendous self-discipline as you trained with a sense of purpose.

What are you going to do after you accomplish this goal? The answer is "recover."

The recovery period begins as soon as you cross the finish line and continues for weeks following the marathon.

Marathon day

There are things you can do right after finishing.

Your body will be depleted of energy and muscles will be sore. A sports recovery drink containing carbohydrates and protein will help speed muscle recovery. It also will help re-hydrate your body. You also should eat something. Doing this within 30 minutes after finishing is ideal.

Muscle glycogen will be replaced twice as quickly if you do these things right away.

Continue to drink something every hour for the rest of the day. This will keep you hydrated and carry toxins out of your system.

Kane Ng-Osorio, 28, running in his fourth marathon, said, "After the race, I plan to eat and drink a lot."

The Honolulu Marathon provides free massages. Take advantage of this after you finish. If you do this, make sure you communicate with your therapist. The massage should be light and not too stressful or painful.

A hot Jacuzzi may feel good, but it will not make you recover quicker. It does the opposite as the hotter water will cause swelling and make the muscles worse off. Muscle soreness and recovery is better treated with cold water. I suggest heading to the beach and soaking yourself in the ocean or taking a cold shower.

"I take as cold a shower or bath as I can manage," said Michelle Emerson, 43, a U.S. naval officer/clinical social worker.


Ready, set, go

What: Honolulu Marathon

When: 5 a.m.,Sunday

Start: Ala Moana and Queen Street extension

Contact: www.honolulumarathon.org

About this series

Veteran Hawai'i runner Jonathan Lyau will provide tips on the Honolulu Marathon — from training to recovery.

Nov. 21 - The course. Knowing the route gives runners an advantage.

Nov. 28 - Tapering. Cutting down your mileage weeks before the run is perhaps the most important aspect in the last month of marathon training and often is taken lightly by many.

Dec. 5 - Pre-race and race-day strategy. Knowing when to re-hydrate might be one of the keys to finishing the run in your target time.

Today - Recovery. Knowing your body and how much rest you need are keys to the road to recovery.
After the race, your resistance will be low. More rest means a quicker recovery. Get a good night's sleep following the marathon.

When you wake up on Monday morning, you probably will have stiff and sore muscles. This will last several days.

Blood circulation will help the recovery by flushing the toxins from your body. Drinking fluids and light exercise will help with circulation.

You do not have to run. I recommend short walks of 30 to 40 minutes. Emerson, who has completed seven marathons, said, "The week after the marathon I take six days off of running but walk about three miles a day to continue processing waste out of my legs."

Other forms of exercise can be done such as biking or swimming. Light massage also will help.

After a few days, your legs will feel better. You can begin to run, but only for 20 to 30 minutes. All efforts should be easy, as you want to continue to flush out the toxins from your body.

The marathon is a long event that breaks down your body. Be patient during the recovery period and enjoy it. Resist the temptation to run hard and long. Do not try to get back into regular training too quickly.

The general rule of thumb is it takes one day to recover for every mile run. This means that it will take you 26 days to fully recover from the marathon.

Much like what you did during your training, you must have the same self-discipline in recovery. If you don't have this discipline to recover, you have an increased chance of getting injured and may experience long-term fatigue.

Worse yet, you may not want to run a marathon again. Malcolm Tomatani, 37, a former Hawai'i resident living in West Des Moines, Iowa, says, "The marathon is so long, that although the physical damage has been healed, the psychological scars still remain." Tomatani, who still trains regularly, ran his last marathon in 1988.

Jonathan Lyau will run in his 21st Honolulu Marathon on Sunday. His best marathon time is 2:29:25.